Publication Date



Long-term, intensive volunteer roles in civic service programs are often stipended, meaning volunteers receive monetary support for their time commitment that is considerably below market wages. The effect of stipends on role uptake, performance, and perceived benefits is not known. In this study, we seek to understand the role of stipends as an institutional facilitator. Using data from a longitudinal study of older adults serving in the national service program Experience Corps (N=263), we assess stipend status relative to volunteer socio-demographic characteristics, characteristics of the service experience, and volunteers’ perceived benefits. Overall, we find that stipends may promote participant diversity. Stipended older adult volunteers also serve for longer periods of time than non-stipended volunteers and their motivations for serving are as altruistic as non-stipended volunteers. Finally, stipended volunteers report higher perceived benefits of participation than non-stipended volunteers. These results suggest that stipends may promote program inclusion, efficiency, and effectiveness.

Document Type

Working Paper


Civic Engagement and Service


Productive Aging

Original Citation

McBride, A. M., Gonzales, E., Morrow-Howell, N., & McCrary, S. (2009). A case for stipends in volunteer service (CSD Working Paper No. 09-12). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


Experience Corps School-based Tutoring Project


national service, older adult service